Auto blogWed, 24 Oct 2012 09:00:00 EST
The aging, oft-forgotten Mitsubishi Lancer won't get a replacement until sometime in 2014, but a new report states that the next-generation model could be a relatively drastic departure from the car you see here. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation President Osamu Masuko told Australian site The Motor Report that the new Lancer will be smaller than the current car, going in a different direction than the vast majority of other automakers.
"The new Lancer will be a very new car, and will be sized somewhere between the current model and its predecessor," Masuko-san told The Motor Report.
There are both pros and cons to this decision. On the plus side, a smaller car means the Lancer will likely have a weight advantage over other vehicles in its class. That said, Mitsubishi will need to find ways to maximize interior space and create efficient packaging in order to still have its compact sedan remain competitive with strong offerings like the Hyundai Elantra, Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and so on.
Forgive us for being wistful, but there was a time when Mitsubishi coupes and sports cars were the downright awesome. The 1990s brought us the all-wheel drive, turbocharged Eclipse GSX and the twin-turbocharged 3000GT VR-4 (seen here). The times, they were good.
Fast-forward to today, and the Lancer Evolution exists as Mitsubishi's sole, true performance offering. Mitsubishi killed off the Eclipse last year, by which time it had lost much the luster of its predecessors. With an affordable Japanese sports car fomenting underway thanks to Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, one may think that it's an ideal time for a brand like Mitsubishi to jump back into the performance coupe game. A rear-drive Mitsubishi sports car to take on the Toyobaru twins could be just what the brand needs to gain some mindshare among consumers.
Not so, says Osamu Masuko. The president and executive director of Mitsubishi told reporters at the Sydney Motor Show, "Our engineers are very prominent to investigate new technologies, but to use that technology they are not that good to bring the revenue to make that money." Read: the engineers want to do it, but the company does not find it to be financially responsible.
Though Mitsubishi first showed us the form of its 2013 Outlander in Geneva a while back, the company saved its plug-in hybrid crossover for this week's Paris Motor Show soiree.
Mitsubishi is quite proud to offer what it says is the world's first production PHEV utility vehicle, a new model that makes use of established technologies within the company. Learnings from the company's i-MiEV electric car have worked there way into a vehicle that can travel up to 55 kilometers (34 miles) on lithium-ion battery power. Two electric motors independently power the front and rear wheels of the Outlander, while the gasoline-powered engine can be used as a generator for the motors, or to power the vehicle directly. The target combined fuel economy for the Outlander PHEV is 61 km/liter, or roughly 143 miles per gallon.
The Outlander PHEV will be introduced in the Japanese market in the first part of 2013, with European and North American markets to follow on. There is no word about an on-sale date, but while you're pondering the possibilities, check out an official video by scrolling down and peruse our high-res image gallery.
Mitsubishi has revealed the Euro-version of the same Outlander Sport model that debuted with updates earlier this year at the New York Auto Show. No, the French do not call it the Royale Sport (with cheese), but rather the ASX.
The crossover has received a range of aesthetic and engineering tweaks, including revised interior fabrics. Designers have also abandoned the old rotary knob switch for the vehicle's all-wheel-control system in favor of a pushbutton interface, though the largest change to the recipe comes in the form of a reworked multi-link rear suspension. Powertrain options remain unchanged, however, with a total of three engine mills on deck, including a 1.6-liter gasoline engine with 115 horsepower mated to a five-speed manual transmission in two-wheel drive configuration.
Those hunting up a little more traction can step up to a 1.8-liter diesel with 147 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed manual and the buyer's choice of either a two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive system. A low-CO2 1.8 diesel is also available with 114 horsepower. You can check out the full press release below for more information.